Media - Solar Citizens

Media Releases

Nearly Half Regional Queenslanders Support Rapid Energy Transition

20 July 2021: Nearly Half Regional Queenslanders Support Rapid Energy Transition

A new survey of regional Queenslanders has found that 45.5 per cent of those polled support transitioning to a renewables-dominated grid at some point over the next 15 years. Nearly a third of people want the transition to happen faster, within the next 10 years.

The regional-only poll, which excluded Queenslanders in the greater Brisbane area and Gold Coast, showed that 52.1 per cent of people think the state government should develop a plan to move away from polluting energy and generate all Queensland’s electricity from clean sources like wind and solar.

More than 50 per cent of people agree or strongly agree that clean energy industries, like renewable hydrogen production, will be major employers by 2030.

The poll was commissioned by community organisation Solar Citizens, who say Queensland’s lack of a transition plan is fueling uncertainty in regional communities. 

“What’s interesting about the results is that, while there’s absolutely an appetite for more clean energy amongst regional Queenslanders, it’s younger people that were the most reluctant to transition our power supply,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens.

“I think this demonstrates that governments are not doing enough to show young people what the jobs of the future look like – there are actually really exciting economic opportunities that regional Queensland can benefit from as the world transitions to cleaner energy and electric transport. 

“Queensland is blessed with some of the world’s best solar resources, which can be turned into cheap and abundant energy to power renewable hydrogen production, and more local manufacturing and minerals mining.

“The energy transition doesn’t mean that Queensland will stop being a global energy powerhouse, we’ll just be producing a different kind of energy.”

A substantial 41.8 per cent of those polled would like to see the Federal government invest more in renewable energy, while 21.4 per cent are happy with the current level of spending. 

“Just around Townsville there are already several proposals to build renewable hydrogen facilities, battery manufacturing hubs and chemical processing plants underpinned by cheap, clean energy,” said Ms Gray.

“Governments need to back projects like this to create thousands of long-term jobs and show Queenslanders that these are our big economic opportunities moving forward.”

[ENDS]

Key results include:

  • 66.2% of people polled support the Federal government spending more (41.8%) on renewable energy or maintaining the current level of spending (21.4%).

  • 51.6% of people agree or strongly agree that clean energy industries, like renewable hydrogen production, will be major employers by 2030.

  • 52.1% of regional people polled support a transition plan that will pave the way for all of Queensland’s electricity coming from clean sources like solar and wind.

  • 45.5% of those polled support transitioning to a renewables-dominated grid at some point over the next 15 years, with 29.4% wanting the transition to occur even quicker and over the next 10 years.

Polling was commissioned by Solar Citizens and conducted by uComms on the 14th of July 2021. 
Sample size: 1,088
Who was polled: Eligible Queensland voters living in regional Queensland, which excludes the greater Brisbane area and Gold coast
Mode of polling: Automated telephone poll
Margin of Error associated with effective sample size: +/- 3.2%
Variables used in weighting: age, gender, regional QLD population distributions.

Queensland Government and Local Council Work Together to Progress Lansdown

12 July 2021: Queensland Government and Local Council Work Together to Progress Lansdown

Work on the Lansdown Eco-Industrial Precinct is moving forward with the Townsville City Council and Queensland Government agreeing to a roads and rail deal. 

“The State government is delivering on their pre-election commitment to provide key infrastructure funding that will help pave the way for Townsville becoming a clean energy manufacturing hub,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens.

“Townsville is moving ahead and showing the rest of Australia how we can future-proof regional economies and revive local manufacturing with abundant cheap renewable energy. 

“The local government is doing a great job attracting new industries to the region and there are already a number of renewable hydrogen, new economy mining, and battery manufacturing projects proposed across North Queensland.

“North Queensland has some of the world’s best solar resources, so unlocking this abundant cheap energy to power new export industries is a smart way to create jobs long into the future.

“But for these opportunities to be fully realised we need the federal government to also provide funding for key infrastructure. They’re still sitting on a large portion of the $195 million owed to Townsville under the City Deal. 

“The sooner this money is allocated, the sooner we’ll see jobs created on the ground.”

[ENDS]

Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006

NSW Government Accelerating Clean Cars

20th June: NSW Government Accelerating Clean Cars

The New South Wales Government has today announced a $490 million package to drive electric vehicle uptake, a move celebrated by independent community group Solar Citizens.

The package includes a $3,000 upfront subsidy for 25,000 electric vehicles under $68,000 and waived stamp duty for vehicles under $78,000. The New South Wales Government will also invest $171 million on charging infrastructure and defer introducing road user charges for electric vehicles until 2027 or until EVs make up 30% of new car sales.

“It’s fantastic to see the NSW Government taking ambitious action to accelerate clean transport, said Solar Citizens' National Director Ellen Roberts.

“Helping drivers switch to electric vehicles is crucial for NSW to reach net zero emissions by 2050, as transport emissions are rising rapidly.

“Electric vehicles can run on cheap renewable energy and don’t produce pollution that harms our health and drives climate change. EVs can also provide valuable grid services by soaking up excess solar during the day and feeding it back into the grid when it’s needed.

“A policy vacuum has kept electric vehicles out of reach for many Australians.

"The NSW Government’s electric vehicle strategy shows it’s serious about tackling transport emissions. Introducing a $3,000 subsidy and deferring road user charges will help make electric vehicles more affordable for all drivers.

“Now we’d like to see other states and the Federal Government follow the lead of NSW and introduce these kinds of sensible and forward-thinking policies to encourage EV uptake”

Last year Solar Citizens launched a campaign representing electric vehicle owners and supporters to advocate for ambitious EV policies from NSW and other State Governments, including:

  • A state electric vehicle target
  • Upfront EV subsidies to help achieve price parity with ICE vehicles
  • Reducing motor vehicle duty and registration fees
  • Deferring road user charges until EV uptake is higher
  • Investment to fill gaps in charging infrastructure, and support homes and businesses to be EV ready

[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

EV Charging for Regional QLD Welcomed, But More Needed to Drive EV Uptake

16 June: EV Charging for Regional QLD Welcomed, But More Needed to Drive EV Uptake

The Queensland Government’s announcement today of $2.75 million to expand the state’s electric vehicle network is a positive move, but more is needed to help Queenslanders afford a cleaner car, says independent community group Solar Citizens. 

The new charging sites will expand Queensland’s Electric Super Highway with 18 additional charging sites in regional areas. 

“Electric vehicles are a win-win for Queenslanders, they can run on cheap clean renewable energy and slash emissions that are harmful to our health and the climate, said Solar Citizens National Director Ellen Roberts. 

“Today’s announcement of more regional charging sites is a welcome move to unlock more of the state for emissions free driving, but it doesn’t address the biggest barrier which is cost.

“Having enough charging sites is crucial once drivers are on the road, but the reality is many Queenslanders can’t yet afford an EV in the first place.

“Other countries are seeing a huge increase in drivers switching to EVs by bringing in incentives to lower the cost, but Australians are being left behind.

“States have the opportunity to lead the way on the transition to clean transport, just like they’re leading on clean energy”

“Electric vehicles are cheaper to run and maintain and can provide valuable grid services by soaking up excess solar during the day, so they should be a no-brainer here in Queensland where we have record rates of rooftop solar.

“It’s great to see Transport Minister Mark Bailey recognising the importance of making electric driving more accessible. Now we’d like to see Queensland follow the lead of states like Victoria and Queensland and do more to make electric vehicles affordable for all.”

“It’s encouraging to see the Queensland Government seeking public consultation on their EV strategy so Queenslanders can have their say and we look forward to participating.”

[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694

Renewables Key Winner in Queensland Budget

15 June: Renewables Key Winner in Queensland Budget

Funding for renewable energy is a key pillar in the 2021-2022 Queensland Budget, a move that is commended by community group Solar Citizens.

“The Queensland government has shown in this budget that they’re ready to take the first steps towards turning the Sunshine State into a clean energy superpower,” said Ellen Roberts, National Director at Solar Citizens.

“Investing in more publicly-owned solar, wind and storage is a sensible move that will unlock future-proof clean energy jobs and pave the way for more local manufacturing.

“Queensland’s mineral resources mean we’re well-placed to produce clean technology, like storage batteries, materials for electric vehicles and renewable hydrogen. 

“Government investment in clean energy and electric vehicles is a key component needed to kick-start renewable manufacturing because it creates a local market for these products.”

Today’s budget also comes as a report from the Queensland Conservation Council finds that Queensland’s state-owned coal generators won’t be profitable after 2024. 

“We’ve just seen in the headlines this morning that by 2024 Queenslanders will be forking out to keep state-owned coal-fired power stations afloat because they’re rapidly becoming unprofitable. 

“Allocating $2 billion for more publicly-owned renewable energy and storage will help diversify the state’s energy mix but we’ll need a lot more investment to replace unprofitable coal stations.”

A new analysis commissioned by Solar Citizens found that replacing Queensland’s 7.2GW of state-owned coal generation with 100% renewable energy would require 7.1GW of solar PV and 10.1GW of wind capacity as well as 4GW/ 103GWh of supporting energy storage.

The budget includes:

  • A further $1.5 billion for the Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Fund to build publicly-owned renewables. 

  • $22 million for a feasibility study into pumped hydro at Borumba dam.

  • $2.75 million to expand Queensland’s Electric Super Highway with an additional 18 charging stations.

[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694 

Regional Queenslanders to See Bills Slashed Thanks to Renewables

11 June 2021: Regional Queenslanders to See Bills Slashed Thanks to Renewables

The Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) has today confirmed that regional Queensland households will see regulated retail electricity prices decrease by 7.3% for a typical customer from July.

“The influx of cheap solar and wind energy is driving down electricity prices for all regional Queenslanders,” said Stephanie Gray, Energy Strategist at Solar Citizens.

“Yesterday we saw the Queensland government allocate a further $1.5 billion dollars to build and operate new clean energy projects and it’s announcements like this that will keep Queenslanders seeing savings for years to come.

“Queensland has some of the world’s best solar resources, and in North Queensland, some of Australia’s best wind resources that tend to blow in the afternoon and evening when the sun is going down. 

“Moving forward abundant and clean renewable energy can be one of Queensland’s key competitive advantages and help turbocharge more local industries and manufacturing.

“The next step is for the State to invest in more clean energy storage, like big batteries or pumped hydro, so that none of this cheap solar energy goes to waste and we can be powered by renewables around the clock.”

[ENDS]

Media contact: Stephanie Gray 0425543006

More information from the QCA report can be found here.

Renewable-Powered Trains a Welcome Step on the Road to Clean Transport

11 June 2021: Renewable-Powered Trains a Welcome Step on the Road to Clean Transport

The NSW Government has today announced that the state’s train network will be powered with renewable energy by 2025, a move welcomed by community group Solar Citizens. 

“Powering transport with cheap renewables is a clean energy trifecta: it’s good news for the climate and the health of our communities, and it stimulates demand for more solar and wind projects to come online,” said Hannah Mitchell, Campaigner at Solar Citizens.

“We know that strong action is needed to slash Australia’s transport pollution because it’s harmful to our health and is a major driver of climate change.

“Today’s announcement shows real leadership, but it’s also just the first step on the road to slashing pollution from the transport sector.

“We’d like to see the NSW government now go up a gear and accelerate the switch to electric vehicles. 

“Electric vehicles don’t produce any harmful pollution and they can provide valuable grid services by soaking up excess solar energy during the day.

“Australia has lagged behind the rest of the world on electric vehicles, but now we’re starting to see states like the ACT and Victoria step up to provide incentives for their uptake. 

“It’s encouraging to hear that Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s vision is for all vehicles to be electric. To make that vision become a reality the NSW Government now needs to put in place policies to make cleaner cars more affordable and accessible for everyone.”

[ENDS]

Media contact: Hannah Mitchell 0427 036 182

$2 Billion Windfall for Publicly-Owned Renewables Celebrated

10 June 2021: $2 Billion Windfall for Publicly-Owned Renewables Celebrated

Today the Queensland government has announced $2 billion for government-owned corporations to build, own and operate new renewable energy and storage projects, a move that is celebrated by community group Solar Citizens.

The Electrical Trades Union, Queensland Community Alliance and Solar Citizens have all been campaigning for additional funding for publicly-owned renewable energy before the upcoming State budget. The $2 billion has been allocated to the Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Jobs Fund.

“The Queensland government has listened to the community and is acting on their commitment to keep the majority of Queensland’s electricity supply in public hands,” said Ellen Roberts, National Director at Solar Citizens.

“This $2 billion in funding will benefit all Queenslanders by helping to drive down the cost of electricity while ensuring that state-owned energy assets keep delivering returns to Queenslanders for decades to come.

“Right now we’re seeing Queensland’s coal power stations struggling to remain profitable as more cheap renewables come online, so the smartest thing the State government can do is diversify and invest in the next generation of energy.

“Investing in clean energy storage, like battery storage, pumped hydro and renewable hydrogen, can create thousands of regional jobs and unlock cheap solar energy at all hours of the day.

“More storage will also ease congestion on the grid so that Queenslanders can keep installing record rates of rooftop solar on their homes and businesses.

“The Queensland government has demonstrated with this announcement that they’re thinking ahead and planning for a prosperous future for Queenslanders.”

A new analysis commissioned by Solar Citizens found that replacing Queensland’s 7.2GW of state-owned coal generation with 100% renewable energy would require 7.1GW of solar PV and 10.1GW of wind capacity as well as 4GW/ 103GWh of supporting energy storage.

$2 billion in funding is enough to build approximately:

 

  • 1,700MW of new large-scale solar; or
  • 1,140MW of new wind; or
  • 860MW of new pumped hydro

 

[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694 

Ellen is available in Townsville today to make comment.  

Victoria Stands Strong Against the Sun Tax as Other States Sit on the Fence

9 June 2021: Victoria Stands Strong Against the Sun Tax as Other States Sit on the Fence

The Victorian government has doubled down on their opposition to the Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) proposal to allow solar export charging, saying that enabling export pricing is not justified at this time. 

In a new submission to the AEMC, the Victorian government requests that state and territory governments get the final say before solar owners can be charged in their jurisdictions. 

In their submission, the Victorian government goes further by saying, “It is not clear why a charge that dissuades export of low-cost clean energy will deliver a net positive outcome for consumers.”

“We’ve seen Victoria, Queensland and now New South Wales indicate that they don’t want to see Australia’s solar homes and businesses slogged, but we’re yet to hear a clear position from Tasmania and South Australia,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director. 

“This proposal by the AEMC is shaping up to be a nightmare to implement. States will all have different rules and apparently consumers are meant to be charged differently depending on the time of day.

“How are consumers meant to keep up and respond to pricing signals? How are retailers going to pass on new network charges, when there’s no requirements outlined in the proposal? All of this is up in the air.

“It’s not clear at all how this complicated, and potentially costly, process of applying varying export charges will work in practice.”

Earlier this week Matt Kean told the AAP, “I don't want to see NSW households who have installed rooftop solar in good faith unfairly penalised”.

Queensland’s Energy Minister Mick de Brenni also shared his concerns with the AAP, saying, “these draft rules were proposed by a privatised network in South Australia to clean up a mess that was created by mismanaged private networks”.

He went on to say the new rules “could see a charge slapped on any household who wants to export their solar power into the grid”.

In Tasmania’s submission to the AEMC, they also supported a flexible approach that would allow jurisdictions to apply the National Electricity Market rules differently. 

[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694
Submissions are available on the AEMC website here.

Solar Citizens Welcomes Borumba Hydro Feasibility Announcement

8 June: Solar Citizens welcomes Borumba Hydro feasibility announcement

Solar Citizens today celebrates the Queensland government’s announcement that they’ll be investigating new pumped hydro in Queensland at the Borumba dam. 

The community group says investing in pumped hydro is essential as the grid transitions. 

“Investing in clean energy storage like pumped hydro is kicking the energy transition into the next gear – it means we can utilise cheap solar energy all day and night,” said Ellen Roberts, Solar Citizens’ National Director. 

“Queenslanders are world leaders in the uptake of rooftop solar, but we’re starting to see cheap solar energy going to waste during certain times of the year because it’s not all getting used.

“Renewable storage options like pumped hydro and big batteries are smart investments that soak up excess solar energy during the day, making the most of cheap solar energy and ensuring grid stability.

“Diversifying Queensland’s energy assets is exactly what energy experts have been calling for in the wake of the Callide C coal-fired power station fire.

“We look forward to a full assessment of the project’s environmental impacts.”


[ENDS]

Media contact: Ellen Roberts 0408 583 694